Simmel's time-space theory: Implications for experience of modernization and place

Daniel Sullivan, Sheridan A. Stewart, Joseph Diefendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Recent perspectives on ecological environmental psychology have called for greater attention to the role of temporal-spatial variables in psychological experience, and for better integration of theory and research on this subject. Despite resurgent interest in the psychology of time-space, Georg Simmel's relevant theory of modernity has received scant attention. This paper presents an in-depth theoretical overview of Simmel's insights into the links between modernization, space, time, and psychology. A review of contemporary research findings in environmental and social psychology demonstrates the integrative potential of Simmel's theory. Finally, we present a comprehensive test of Simmel's theory in an empirical case study exploring the impacts of modernization within a sample of Midwestern U.S. Mennonites. In line with Simmel's ideas, we find evidence in this sample for relationships between more ecological variables (. modernized habitus), orientations toward time and goals (. modernized consciousness), collectivist and individualist values, and a place attachment outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Environmental psychology
  • Georg Simmel
  • Individualism
  • Mennonites
  • Modernization
  • Psychology of time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Simmel's time-space theory: Implications for experience of modernization and place'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this